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Cannes ban for director Lars von Trier over Nazi remarks

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Movie director Lars von Trier has been banned by the Cannes Film Festival over comments he made about Hitler (AP)

Movie director Lars von Trier has been banned by the Cannes Film Festival over comments he made about Hitler (AP)

Movie director Lars von Trier has been banned by the Cannes Film Festival over comments he made about Hitler (AP)

Danish director Lars Von Trier has been banned from the Cannes Film Festival and declared “persona non grata” after telling a Press conference he was a Nazi and could understand Hitler.

A statement from the festival's organisers said they “profoundly” regretted the film-maker's remarks, which they described as “unacceptable, intolerable and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival”.

It continued: “The board of directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes.”

Von Trier apologised after Wednesday's Press conference.

The film-maker discussed Adolf Hitler, porn films and the drinking habits of some of his stars during the 40-minute session.

He was there to promote his film Melancholia, the story of two sisters, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kirsten Dunst, and how they deal with the knowledge another planet is about to crash into Earth, destroying it.

Yesterday's statement does not make clear whether the film will be withdrawn from competition for the festival's Palme d'Or prize.

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Von Trier, who was brought up believing he was Jewish until he discovered his biological father was a German Catholic, said yesterday: “I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out I was really a Nazi, you know because my family was German.”

He went on to say he could “understand Hitler”, adding: “But come on, I'm not for the Second World War and I'm not against Jews.”

With Dunst looking increasingly uncomfortable at his answers, von Trier asked reporters: “How can I get out of this sentence?”

He also said Israel was a “pain in the ass”.

The eccentric film-maker gave a series of rambling answers to questions, including the admission that there was a chance the film, which also stars Kiefer Sutherland, was “crap”.

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Lars von Trier has courted controversy throughout his career. The 55-year-old came to public attention with his 1998 film The Idiots, about a group of people who pretended to be disabled. It’s subject matter attracted a mixed reception with one critic, the BBC's Mark Kermode, ejected from a screening in Cannes for saying the film was “merde”.


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